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Beckham no sporting hero

Veteran sports hack John Henderson, now at The Observer, celebrates 100 of our greatest sports stars in his new book, Best of British: Hendo’s Sporting Heroes.

Apparently, he agonised about who to include, eventually deciding there was no room for former England captain David Beckham. That’s the same David Beckham who single-handedly ensured we qualified for the 2002 World Cup with one of the greatest under-pressure free-kick goals of all time. And played out of his skin in every one of his 90+ caps…

No room for Virginia Wade either – despite the fact she actually won Wimbledon. She didn’t just reach the semis – she won.

The good news is Jocky Wilson – toothless lothario of the professional darts scene – made it into the hundred. As did Mick the Miller – a greyhound. Oh, and Lord Byron, who was a long-distance swimmer, apparently.

Of course, lists like these are always subjective. But Henderson opines that Brit heroes are thinner on the ground in the 21st Century. No one mention Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Ellen MacArthur, Zara Philips, Johnny Wilkinson, Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Rhona Martin, Debbie Knox, Ian Percy, Ian Walker and Mark Covell, Kelly Holmes, Denise Lewis, Leslie Law, Nicole Cooke…
 

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